DIG manufactures face shields for area medical professionals

What do you do with an idle makerspace in the middle of a global pandemic? Manufacture medical personal protective equipment (PPE), of course.

On an ordinary day, the Deason Innovation Gym – also known as the DIG – in the Lyle School of Engineering is populated with students using 3D printers, laser cutters and other high-tech and common tools to create personal and class projects.

During these extraordinary times, however, the DIG is being put to use by Seth Orsborn, professor and director of DIG, and Alyssa Phillips, DIG lab manager, to manufacture face shields for area medical professionals.

As the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, so does the demand for different kinds of PPE. Orsborn and Phillips settled on making face shields using an open-source design from developer Josef Prusa because it enabled them to quickly make an impact.

Currently, the duo is able to manufacture 100 units per week. Deliveries have already been made to UT Southwestern Medical Center, Watermark Urgent Care and Brookdale Hospice Care. News of their efforts has resulted in donations from local corporations to support the manufacturing process.

To document their progress, Orsborn and Phillips post regular photo and video updates to the DIG’s Instagram account. A vlog is also in the works and will be available soon. Scroll down to see more photos of the manufacturing process.